Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he was executing his earthly ministry. He was spending time with his Father and because of that he knew the mission. His disciples seemed clueless and were surprised by every big move Jesus made. The disciples were looking for a triumphant messiah that would run the Roman occupiers out of Jerusalem. One of the reasons why Judas betrayed Jesus was because Jesus had not lived up to that expectation. It was only after Jesus was resurrected and after the day of Pentecost that the disciples moved from bewildered and broken followers of Christ to leaders and founders of the Church. The Gospel of John in chapters 14-16 Jesus lays out everything that is about to happen to the disciples and what they were about to see with their own eyes after his earthly ministry came to a close.
But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:5-15 ESV
Jesus is telling the disciples that he is going to leave them to prepare a place with the Father for them (John 14:3). They are confused at the prospect of Jesus leaving them so Jesus responds to tell them that he will send a “Helper” to be with them forever. So has this helper fulfilled what Jesus predicted, how does the helper operate, and who is this helper?
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. Acts 4:13-14 ESV
One of the markers of this helper that Jesus predicted was that the world would not see or know him (John 14:17). Peter and John astonished the community by healing people and preaching a resurrected Jesus. Peter and John were not educated, wealthy, or men of recognized social status. Yet here they are gaining the attention of educated and wealthy leaders of the community. Those leaders of the world could not see the work of this helper and they could not understand how Peter and John were so transformed to have the impact in the community that they were having. This is not the same Peter and John that followed Jesus around, but a Peter and John who act and speak as if Jesus himself was with them guiding and giving direction to their actions. They are certainly being helped just as Jesus told them they would.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV
The helper that Jesus promised to send is the answer to the problem that the people of God have always had from the beginning. That problem is rebellion and lack of understanding God’s ways and God’s plans for his creation. Through the prophets God promised to put his sprit into his people to replace a heart of stone with a heart that will understand and want to walk with God. Jesus while telling is the disciples about the helper he is also telling them that if they loved God they would follow his commands (John 14:15, 23). Jesus was telling the disciples that the helper would change their hearts and help them love Jesus in obedience.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV
The helper that Jesus promised is the Holy Spirit. We see his hand at work all through the Biblical Narrative and believers see him at work in their own lives. Jesus told the disciples that the world would not see him or understand him. Salvation is a miraculous event where a person is transformed. The heart is made new. Those that are saved see the Holy Spirit at work in their life. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to do the work that Jesus wrapped up in the body of a man could not accomplish.
Jesus knew the plan and just as he planned the Holy Spirit arrived. The Helper’s arrival transformed the disciples and everyone who has believed in the name of Jesus since that time. The Holy Spirit has communicated God’s wisdom and direction to us all who hear His voice. Please make sure of your place in God’s plan by believing in Jesus to receive the Holy Spirit who is our lifeline and deposit guaranteeing our assurance of an inheritance that only God can provide.